Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Cure to Writer's Block

So, I woke up this morning and thought 'Wow, I have absolutely nothing to write about today.' Opened my email and was proven wrong. 

As a former paying member and now one who only utilizes their service during free communication weekends (happens more frequently now that the economy has continued its downward spiral, so keep a look-out!), I receive regular communication from eHarmony.  I've asked them to stop sending me matches because it either aggravates me with their frequency or depresses me with their infrequency.  I know...I'm not easy to please!  So instead of a parade of potential matches, I now receive their e-newsletter, chock full of useless useful advice about dating, relationships and from the tone of this particular article, "how to score a man."

Although this will probably make for the longest post in the history of "Lost in Singledom," I'd like to copy the article and, uh, basically tear it to shreds.  But, I'd like to ask for your opinion of it as well.  I'm sure I'll do my usual snippy questions in response to some of the author's insights, so please feel free to help me answer them!  My witty dialogue will be in red (how appropriate!).

The Surprising Way to Make A Loving Connection

By Rori Raye, Author of best-selling eBook 'Have The Relationship You Want' and free newsletter (Sounds promising...)

Do you know the right way to truly connect with a man in such a way that he feels compelled to devote himself to you? (Obviously not, I'm getting eHarmony e-newsletters.) If you find that most of your relationships never quite get off the ground, then it's possible you may have been taking the wrong road to the path of love. (Just "possible?" I'd imagine that's a definite.  Unless you like serial dating, so who I am to judge?)
It's so easy to get lost on the way to the relationship you desire, so please be gentle with yourself if you can relate to the descriptions below. (Probably about to viciously attack myself for being such a dating idiot, then, is that what you're telling me?) All of us women have taken the wrong road in our attempts to get close to a man - including myself. (So, got a lot of one-night-stand speedbumps on that path to love, Rori?) I took the wrong road many times before finally discovering how to create the kind of loving relationship I wanted. When I started taking the right road, that's when I found my husband. (And what exactly was the name of that road? Is it on a GPS?)

Wrong Road #1: The Logical Road (MIND) (Oh, Lord, I'm already thinking this woman is some kind of "Legally Blonde" type and I'm not even into her first recommendation.)

As a smart, independent woman (How did she know?!?), you're probably very good at shining during a discussion and engaging a man on an intellectual level. (I pride myself on it, thank you.) You'll impress a man and make him enjoy your company, but you may feel disappointed to learn that he feels no chemistry - even if you have a great deal in common.

That's because when you try to connect with a man through his mind, he doesn't feel a thing! (Wait, what?!)

For a man to fall in love with you, he needs to feel touched by you in a deep, connected, emotional sense.

(Okay, as far as I'm concerned, Ms. Raye glossed over this one entirely too quickly.  So, what she's telling me is that men aren't attracted to intelligence?  That basically they can't connect with a woman who shines intellectually?  Aren't there men out there that would like to find a woman who can talk about more than the local gossip or the best place in town to get an acrylic fill-in?  What happens when the physical attraction loses its lustre [please, God, I know I'm behind the curve, but please give me a few more years of physical attraction]?  Without an intellectual connection what the heck are you going to talk about?  Please, men, please contradict this very broad, very generalizing comment of Ms. Raye's.  I have my fingers crossed...)

Wrong Road #2: The Physical Road (BODY) (laughing already)

Despite what a lot of women think, men do not become attached through sex - even if it's fabulous. (Okay, I can believe this.  I know that men and women view sex very differently.  Women usually view it as a means to a connection, while men, in general, view it as the bonus to the connection. In general.  And in usual, normal circumstances.  So, excluding Ms. Raye's admission to one-night stands above.) While every man appreciates a woman who enjoys being with him physically, this is not the reason men fall in love. Sex is only a small part of the whole picture for him. ("Sex," "small part," and "him" in one sentence.  Just saying.  It was my comedic duty to point that out.)

Relying on a physical connection with him will only get you a broken heart - not a committed partner. (See, I don't completely believe this either.  I think the sentence should be rewritten to say "Relying ONLY on a physical connection with him will only get you a broken heart."  I'm not condoning rushing into a physical relationship with anyone by any means, but I think essentially and eventually, if you don't have a physical connection, someone isn't going to be happy in that "committed" relationship.

Wrong Road #3: The Spiritual Road (SPIRIT) (Perfect! Just started a spiritual journey of my own...hit me!)

If you're like many women who are committed to spiritual growth (why, yes, I am), then you also enjoy being with a man who shares your values. (It's on my list of Must Have's.) This is a wonderful thing to look for in a partner, and if it's important to you then spirituality will be an especially rewarding component of your relationships.

But it's so easy to mistake the friendship that can grow between two people who worship in the same way, who care about the same things, and who are devoted to their families or community. (Uh, I can't tell you how many times I've been told to get to a church and I'll find a man, or how many of my friends met their mate at some religious-related event/activity.)

It may seem like a passionate, emotional bond when what has actually developed is just a deep friendship. He'll tell everyone what a great woman you are, but he won't be dreaming about you night after night or longing to hold you in his arms.

(Sorry, I was dazed and confused by this.  I'll address why below...)

So if we can't win his heart by connecting with his mind, body or spirit... what do we do?

The Right Road: The Emotional Road (HEART) (This Rori Raye is a genious.) <- sarcasm.

Contrary to popular opinion, men are not averse to emotions. What puts them off is drama. There's a big difference. (No way? I didn't realize that eHarmony was marketing to high schoolers...)

A man actually yearns for a woman who can help him feel his own feelings and therefore allow him to be himself. If you're not in touch with your feelings, he won't feel safe expressing his. (Do you think this is true?  Do you think men "yearn" for an emotionally outgoing woman? Do you follow this logic?  It took me a second, but I think I get it.  If I express my feelings, he'll express his.  But, this flies in the face of everything I've ever learned.  Men don't want to constantly hear about a woman's feelings.  And is that emission of emotion necessarily going to end up in a profession of love?...We'll get back to this.)

So here's your action plan: The next time you start to feel something around a man, don't second guess yourself. (Actually, I am trying to live by this mantra.  If I like a guy, I'm going to tell him.  He can do with that information whatever he wants.  I intend to do the same with the reverse.  If I think something's cute or attractive or whatever, I'm going to say it.  Keep talking, Rori...) Don't talk yourself out of your feelings or stop yourself from expressing how you really feel. (Okay, I can do that...)

Let's say he acted moody and distant on a special date. Instead of letting it go or suppressing the emotion, you can tell him exactly what you're feeling(you mean, saying "Why the hell do you have to ruin everything nice we ever do?" is appropriate?). You can try something like this:

"I feel confused and worried about what's happening here. Is there something I should know?" (Oh yeah, no, so, not appropriate.  This statement would do one of two things with any of the men I've ever met:  I'd either get the "No, nothing's wrong" response or a grocery list of things that HE'S been bottling up for months. 

Speak the truth without anger or drama. Just say what happened, what you felt, and what you feel. (I have practiced this.  I've learned the value of "I/Me" statements.  Instead of "You did this and that," I use "I felt like x,y,z."  It works, friends.)  Don't blame him or make him wrong. Remember, you don't know why he's doing what he's doing. All you know is you. (Uh, kind of makes men sound like uninterpretable robots, doesn't it? Prove her wrong, men, I'm counting on you!)

Once you start making subtle shifts like this in your communication with a man - and speaking truly from the heart - I know you'll be pleasantly surprised at the closeness it creates between the two of you.

This whole article bugs me and I'll tell you why.  First, it's reinforcing the fact that attempts to bond with a man on a physical, spiritual or intellectual basis are all fruitless, but to bond on an emotional level will take your relationship to the next level.  Well, isn't bonding on all those first-mentioned things in turn creating an emotional connection?  I feel as though she's saying "Well, you can bond with a man spiritually and share that wonderful connection of faith, but if you don't let him express his emotions, he'll never see you as anything more than a wonderful, caring, compassionate, loving woman."  But, then we're not supposed to appeal to him on a physical level, because that's a dead-end street, too, according to Ms. Raye.  It also rubs me the wrong way that she seems to write as if the ball is completely in the man's court.  It is our responsibility as the woman to establish this connection.  What responsibility does the man have?  To idly stand by and wait until we can figure out how to bond with him?  Kind of sounds like a scientist discovering a cave man in the woods or something.  In the meantime, he is not having intelligent conversations with us, not going to church with us and not having sex with us.  Sounds like a blast and I bet that relationship will last a total of forty-eight hours, max. 

I think Ms. Raye missed the boat in her synopsis and recommendation.  I think she should have had her end result suggestion be a culmination of all of the above points.  It's obvious to see that none of these things alone are going to make a long-lasting, quality relationship. We didn't need Ms. Raye to point that out for us. But, together...well, I'd imagine it's what everyone is looking for, deep down.  To connect with someone on all those levels would be the ultimate prize. 

I wonder if eHarmony is looking for freelance writers...


  1. Melly, this is entirely too many words.

    That was a joke!

    Anyway, this does feel like a complete fluff piece. I feel like I’m reading a horoscope, with its vague and broad brush strokes. The bitter singleton in me can’t help but notice that she is advertising the fact that she has a husband in the first paragraph. I interpret it like: “NENE NENE BOO BOO! I got what you want!”

    No one “road” is going to lead to the romantic we’re-in-love relationship. It takes some of it all in order to truly have a healthy romantic relationship. But individually, those “roads” are great ways to start friendships. And, ideally, isn’t that how things with the opposite sex should start?

    I can’t really speak for women, but I doubt that if I connected with a woman on one level initially, that the possibility for more wouldn’t cross my mind. And as far the whole emotional yearning part… Men, like I would assume women, want to be with someone who allows and accepts them for themselves. The problem with her wording is that she is oversimplifying.

    It’s frustrating for a man to be given a set of problems and not be allowed to fix them. I lost count of the arguments that I’ve been in because the woman just wanted to vent, not hear any of my “damned advice”.

    Being comfortable enough communicate openly is probably more important. The rest should fall in place. It is much easier to just speak things plainly, but understand that most guys (myself included) can sometimes not know the best way to verbally express what they feel.

    But what do I know? I’m tired, and I sure don’t have a “Best-selling eBook”.

  2. Nice analysis :) Couple additional thoughts:

    1.) What about those who aren't the total cliche of a woman and aren't looking for the total cliche of a man? There's no space here for anything but the age-old, stereotypical gender roles that went out with the 50s -- who does she think she's writing for?!

    2.) Taking that a step further, the whole concept behind this is so heteronormative! What about those who aren't looking for a man...period? eHarmony only just opened up their site to non-hetero couples, and it's clear their literature also has some catching up to do. Love is all around for everyone, Rori, and it doesn't always look the way you describe.

  3. @Nice Guy, I don't have a best-selling eBook either. But, I do think I've been around enough men in my time (and I'm sure the same is true for you with women) to be able to analyze gender interactions a bit better than Ms. Raye, even if she does have a husband and I don't! LOL And watch out with those "Melly" comments or there might be a little tab there for "Mr. Nice Guy" on the sidebar! ;) Just kidding.

    @MFB, again, this is why I love blogging. I would have never thought about these sides of this coin. My sister read this post and commented along the same lines (via Facebook). She said that Ms. Raye's tone and perception makes it seem as though we (women) have to hold a cup under the man's mouth just so he doesn't drool all over himself. It's pretty belittling to men and women, honestly. I wasn't aware that eHarmony excluded non-hetero couples for no reason other than I am hetero and it never crossed my mind. Your point is very relevant though. Making love into some broad cookie-cutter-like process can be very excluding and, honestly, insulting. Thank you both for your wonderful insights!

  4. I loved your commentary, Melanie! I think you should be the one getting paid to write articles...not Rori.

  5. I just want to know why somebody hasn't taken Nice Guy off the market? Ladies what's your problem?

  6. Ugh! So vague and over-simplified....which for a e-newsletter like that, is the way to go. She's speaking to a large group of women, so it has to be one size fits all.

    She could have done six more newsletters just detailing each point. Love your breakdown Mel!

  7. Thanks, Colleen and Mary! I'll start submitting my freelance work to eHarmony. Or I could just forward them a link to this blog. :) Anonymous, Nice Guy's probably afraid that if I took him off the market, he'd end up on the other end of my blog postings. LOL Kidding again, kidding again. Check out today's post...Nice Guy will be helping out as a blog contributor!

  8. When you find "the one," none of the stuff in this article matters. It's way too exhausting sitting there on a date and thinking, "Am I expressing too many emotions? Am I'm not expressing enough?" If he truly likes you, it won't matter to him. All you have to do is be yourself. :)


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